Family’s tears as Moors Murders victim’s white stilettos returned 55 years later

The family of the first Moors Murders victim broke down as her white stilettos were handed back to them by police – 55 years after her murder.

The stilettos are now a poignant reminder of Pauline Reade and her tragic fate, sealed when she crossed the path of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1963.

Her niece Jackie Reade says she became "very emotional" as she caught sight of the heels, breaking down in tears as they were returned to the family.

One of the shoes had emerged from moorland peat during a search in 1987.

Its discovery was the moment officers knew they had found the shallow grave of 16-year-old Pauline, the Manchester Evening News reports.

The body of the teenager – the first of Brady and Hindley’s victims – came after a three-month search of Saddleworth Moor.

More than three decades on, a necklace has also been returned to her loved ones.

It was hoped the return of her belongings would bring final closure for her family – with her shoes, and other items, soon to be reunited with her remains.

But mysteriously, they are adamant that the necklace isn’t hers.

Jackie said: “It was very emotional seeing Pauline’s shoes and clothing, I was crying.

“But I was told by my nana (Pauline’s mother) that the necklace she was wearing was fine gold with a St Christopher on it.

“The chain and pendant the police have returned to us is not gold, is too chunky, and is not the kind of thing Pauline would have worn.

“I don’t think it is hers.”

Pauline was murdered by evil Brady and Hindley on July 12, 1963. Her throat was cut with such force that her spinal cord was severed.

The killers went on to take the lives of another four children, aged 10 to 17.

Pauline’s body was discovered 24 years after her death, just inches below the surface in peat, 250 yards from a main road on July 1, 1987.

The MEN revealed in November that body parts of the victim had been kept by police for three decades without her family’s knowledge. Her loved ones believed they had finally laid her to rest after a funeral at Gorton Cemetery.

But following the death of Brady last May an audit was carried out and some of her remains were discovered at Leeds University, where they had been kept on behalf of Greater Manchester Police (GMP).

The body parts held included her jaw bone and hair samples.

Following that discovery, Pauline’s family decided to have a second funeral to reunite the parts with her remains.

In June, GMP contacted the family’s solicitor to reveal they had her stilettos, a broken necklace, a metal chain belt, a piece of material from her dress, a safety pin, six buttons and a press stud.

A force spokeswoman said after Pauline’s body was found, her then-next of kin had agreed the necklace and other items should be handed over to police to keep.

Now that the belongings have been returned they will be placed with Pauline’s remains and the second funeral will take place.

However, niece Jackie, 44, from Wythenshawe, also doubts whether two other chains returned by police belonged to Pauline.

“I am grateful for the shoes, and other items of clothing, which will now be reunited with her remains," she said.

“But we have an issue with the jewellery.

"And if they aren’t Pauline’s, who do they belong to?”

GMP has agreed to pay £4,500 to cover the costs of the exhumation and the reburial of Pauline’s remains.

Jackie said: “We had assumed that the necklace and other things had just been lost."

Pauline disappeared before Jackie was born – but her niece was 13 when her body was found and remembers her family’s pain.

Each week, Jackie went with Pauline’s mum Joan to lay a single rose on her grave.

“I was devastated when the body parts were returned,” Jakie added.

“It has brought it all back. I was disgusted that part of Pauline could be kept like that, and I don’t understand why these personal things were kept either.”

Jackie told the MEN last year: “I was 13 when Pauline was found.

"I remember the day very clearly. My nana and grandad, (Pauline’s parents) Joan and Amos, were still alive at the time.”

Pauline’s grave is a family plot. Her mother, father and brother Paul, who all died after her, are buried there.

It means that to bury Pauline’s remains will require four licences from Ministry of Justice to move all four bodies.

Peter Hall, head of civil litigation for Tranters Solicitors of Stockport, who is representing Jackie, said: “Jackie simply does not accept that the items of jewellery returned by GMP relate to Pauline.

“From all accounts Pauline was wearing a fine gold chain and the Home Office pathologist described finding a gold chain on the body in 1987.

“There was no mention of a medallion or other silver-linked necklace.

“The likelihood is that these items returned to Jackie purporting to relate to Pauline in fact relate to other murder victims.

“It has been another unpleasant twist in an already deeply upsetting matter for Jackie, who desperately wants to put this matter behind her.”

Last year, Martin Bottomley, Head of GMP’s Cold Case Unit, said after Pauline’s body parts were discovered: “This is a deeply sensitive matter and understandably it has caused some upset with the family however, we felt contacting them was the right thing to do and we have given them a number of options, all of which GMP will pay for.

“The Moors Murders was one of the most evil acts that happened in this country in the 20th century and although those responsible were brought to justice, we will continue to provide support to the families of the victims in any way that we can.”

GMP has been approached for comment on the family’s claims about the necklace.

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